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JP Morgan Cuts Corning Rating

Corning Inc. (GLW) posted $0.29 vs. $0.23 Q1 earnings per share (pro forma) on a 42% sales rise. The company lowered its 2001 EPS guidance. JP Morgan downgraded its rating on the shares to buy from long-term buy and cut estimates.

Analyst Charlie Willhoit says Corning met twice-revised estimates, but warned of continued deterioration in its business fundamentals, most importantly its fiber operations. Willhoit says the company cut its 2001 EPS guidance from $1.20-$1.30 to $0.90-$1.00. Accordingly, he lowered his estimates down below guidance; he cut his $1.20 2001 EPS projection to $0.80 and his $1.40 2002 forecast to $0.78. The analyst says Corning's warning that premium fiber will now make up only 25% of total fiber sales this year -- down from a projected 30%-35% -- is bad for margins, and a bad sign for the health of the fiber market.

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